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The Mighty Bald Eagle – USA National Symbol
History of Eagles
Bald Eagles are the national symbol of the United States. Legend has it that in one of the first battles of the Revolution, the noise of the battle awoke the Eagles. The eagles flew from their nest circling and crying out over the heads of the men that were fighting," They are shrieking for Freedom," said the patriots.
In 1782, the Eagle was chosen as the American National Bird. At this time the Eagle became the central figure in the official national seal. The Golden Eagle was originally chosen but since they live in Europe also, America changed to the Bald Eagle, as they only live in the United States. Charles Thomson, the secretary of Congress, actually was the person who chose the eagle.
I have had the pleasure of seeing a few eagles soaring in the sky a few times in my life, and they are magnificent creatures. One of the most fascinating characteristics of Eagles is their eyesight as they can see almost 3 sq. miles when flying at an altitude of 984 feet.
Source Rock Mountain legend post
Eagle Still in Danger
There is a Bald Eagle Protection Act that was written in 1940 and has been amended several times, however, the act prohibits the taking or possession of or commerce for the bald or Golden Eagles with very limited exceptions. It includes pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest or disturb; plus it includes transporting or conveying a bird by any means. The criminal penalties include a maximum of a $5000 fine or one year imprisonment, or both.
The Bald Eagles were just removed off the endangered species list in 2007 as they now flourish. An environmental organization in Maine has already found an alarming accumulation of mercury in the blood and feathers of bald eagle chicks in the Catskill Park region of New York. The Mercury is associated with reproductive problems in loons and other bald eagles in the Northeast. The toxin builds up faster than the birds can get rid of it, which is going to be a problem in the future for these birds.
Bald Eagle in Catskill Mountains source Yahoo
Bald Eagle Facts You Might Not Know
- Bald eagles are not really bald but covered with white feathers on their heads when they are about five or six years old.
- Interestingly enough the female can be one third larger than the male. The males weight between 8 to 9 pounds and females weigh between 10 to 14 pounds
- A Bald Eagle wingspan is normally about 8 feet.
- Eagles mate for life up and it may take them up to six weeks to build their nest for the first time. Most eagles typically live near the sea in living trees that are 75” tall or even higher. They often use the same nest year after year. The heaviest nest ever found actually weighed 1 ton
- They usually don't lay more than three eggs and two is more common. When the baby eagles leave the nest somewhere between 16 to 22 weeks, they have dark feathers all over, although they are covered with down when they are born.
- Bald eagles primarily eat fish; however, they also rob ospreys of their fish catches. They prey on other birds, small mammals, snakes, turtles and crabs and readily eat carrion (decaying flesh).
- Eagles make a high-pitched shrill, squeaking and screeching sound from the air that passes through the bones in their neck, as they do not have vocal chords.
- Bald eagles can fly approximately 30 mph. They are the only bird that can fly above the clouds to avoid the rain, as high as 10,000 feet. Eagles have been measured traveling 150 mph during a dive.
- Bald eagles live approximately 30-35 years. In captivity they have been known to live for 50 years.
- The Bald Eagle and the California condor are the only birds that get larger than Golden Eagle which is commonly found in western North America. They also have a large hooked bill and long broad wings.
Bald Eagle bird fishing diving boat stealing bait - fish
source Google photo
Wild Bald Eagles Mating!
Special Bible Quote
The Eagle is also used quite frequently in the Bible.
In Isaiah 30:41:
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.
Various types of eagles reside on every continent, except Antarctica, and there are 60 different species on our planet.
Beside the Bald Eagle, some of the more common ones are:
- The Crested Eagle
- The Harpy Eagle
- the Golden Eagle
- The Black Eagle
- The Stellar Sea Eagle.
Eagles have powerful bodies with heavy heads, powerful beaks and claws when compared to most other birds. One of the most fascinating characteristics is their eyesight. A bald eagle can see a rabbit running from 1.5 Km. (1 mile) away. That means it eagle flying at an altitude of 300m (984 ft.) over open country could spot pray over area eight square km (almost 3 square miles. Bald eagles are also called American Eagles, fishing eagles, Washington Eagles and white-headed eagles.
American Golden Eagle
Our Eagle story wouldn't be complete if we didn't take a look at some of the other well-known varieties.
Golden Eagles are named for their golden brown plumage, and they tend to be slightly smaller than the Bald Eagle. They mate for life and often build their nest on a cliff ledge which is protected by an overhanging tree or rock so they have shelter.
The Golden Eagle is seen worldwide throughout the Northern Hemisphere and is fairly common in our Western states, particularly in Alaska and also western Canada. Golden Eagles have been protected in the United States since 1963, because during the 1950s an estimated 20,000 Eagles were destroyed by ranchers and farmers as they considered these eagles to be a threat to their livestock. This was particularly true of sheep ranchers,
The Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela) is an extremely rare resident of the central forest of Singapore, where it is believed that one to two pairs still survive. However, for the last few years the eagle was barely seen at all. Thus the excitement it generated when the bird was recently sighted. The eagle hunts from a high perch. It sits still until it spots a potential prey among the grass.
The Black Eagle lives near cliffs and mountains and is fairly wide spread in South Africa. When seen from below the black eagle has windows (clear patches) near the ends of its wings. Black eagles are often seen flying in pairs, the one slightly below the other.
Harpy Eagles live in the Americas, in New Guinea and they are the national bird of Panama. They also mate for life. The San Diego zoo was the first facility in North America to hatch and successfully rear Harpy Eagle. They are largest, most powerful bird in the world; they inhabit the tropical forests of Central and South America.
Stellar Sea Eagles live around the rivers in Japan and Russia and usually spend the winter in the southern Kurial islands in southern Japan. They are also considered vulnerable due to industrial pollution, over-fishing and their habitat alterations. Their current population is estimated to be 5000 but decreasing.
Golden Eagle vs. Jackrabbit
Americans love the symbol of the Eagle since it represents strength and pride and the symbol is used in a variety of ways.
There is an annual Bald Eagle Festival held by the American Bald Eagle Foundation of Haines, Alaska, which will be held on November 9-13, 2011. This festival looks magnificent and offers numerous things to do even including photography training to capture these birds on film.
Bald Eagle Festival in Alaska
Philadelphia Eagles logo
Source View Legionpost
Source Site EagleScouts
Source Image Eagles Rock
Other Famous Uses of the Eagle
The American Gold Eagle coins and their weight, content and purity is guaranteed by the United States government. Since they required no assaying, American Gold Eagles are easily converted to cash at any time. The minimum purchase of gold bullion coins is 5 ounces. If you want to purchase less than 5 ounces you may purchase coins at 1/10 oz, ¼ oz, ½ oz or 1 oz. Many people invest some of their savings in gold coins for they have a good history of being a good investment. Another coin that is available is the American Silver Eagles.
Another use of the Eagle is the logo for the Philadelphia Eagles, the well-known NFL football team. The eagle is their logo on their jerseys and on their helmets. They were named initially after the blue Eagle, a symbol used for the New Deal stimulus programs initiated during the Great Depression. I don't think most people are aware of this anymore and we just think of the bald eagle as their logo.
There is a beautiful mountain in picturesque Pennsylvania just southwest of the Pocono Mountains called Eagle Rock. it has 14 lighted skiing slopes for the beginner to the expert. The elevation is 1950 feet high with base elevation being 1250 feet, so the vertical drop is 550 feet; quite the ride. I have traveled this country and it is just gorgeous year-round. This particular mountain is located near Hazelton, Pennsylvania.
We can't forget the Boy Scouts of America as the boys work hard to earn a leadership role where they become an Eagle Scout.
We also can't forget one of the most successful rock bands of all times, The Eagles, which was formed in 1971 in Los Angeles, California by Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bennie Leadon and Randy Meisner. They have won six Grammys, had six number one albums, five number one singles, and they were the most successful musical act of the 1970s. They actually became America's biggest band in 1975 after releasing" One of These Nights", and adding on Felder.
Unfortunately many of the eagles around the world are still on the endangered list. They are such a unique bird with their acute vision, their speed, their stamina and their large size. They certainly aren't what we think of it as a household pet as they can be fairly vicious it just feeding themselves. They are very territorial around their nest to protect the young. They mate for life and will only take on another partner if their's dies.
Another sad fact is there is a large number of eagles being killed by the windmills that are being placed in the path of migrating birds for electrical power.
Watching the graceful way they fly along the river looking for a fish and swoop down with such speed, then immediately pull straight back up with that fish is amazing. I certainly hope that the eagles survive all the destruction that man has made, as they would be a tremendous loss to us all.
The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.